Veterans Day is a national holiday created to honor the millions of veterans who served in America’s military. The day is usually marked by speeches and reminders to say “thank you” to a veteran. But there’s more you can do to show your appreciation. Here are a few simple ways to honor past service members on Veterans Day and year-round.
One of the best ways to honor veterans is to attend a local Veterans Day event in your area.
Many cities host a Veterans Day parade or some other event to honor the day. Local hospitals managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs also usually host ceremonies honoring our current and past troops.
If you live in the Phoenix area, Arizona State University hosts several events honoring veterans, including the annual Salute to Service football game, a luncheon panel discussion and a reception honoring families with a legacy of service.
You can view all Salute to Service events and RSVP in the event section of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center website.
Nothing says you care like a handwritten letter or care package. Compile a list of veterans or service members you know and use Veterans Day as an opportunity to send them a thoughtful surprise in the mail.
And if you don’t personally know any veterans, that’s okay, too. Charities such as Operation Gratitude have partnered with individuals and organizations to send more than two million care packages to active duty military members and veterans. Many veterans charities also have letter writing campaigns you can contribute to as well.
There are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Shopping at one of these veteran-owned businesses is a great way to support military members on Veterans Day and year-round.
You may have to do a little digging to find the veteran-owned businesses in your area. Check information from the local chamber of commerce to see if they have a list of businesses owned by veterans. You can also find a veteran-owned business near you at buyveteran.com.
High school history class was a while ago, so you may not remember as much as would like about the past wars veterans have served in.
Use Veterans Day as an opportunity to refresh your knowledge and reflect on America’s past military conflicts. Setting aside a few minutes to read some articles or watch a short documentary can be enough to give you a deeper understanding of veterans’ sacrifices.
If you want a deep dive into military history, consider enrolling in an online course. The National WWII Museum and ASU Continuing and Professional Education partnered to offer an in-depth course about WWII featuring exclusive historical materials from the museum.
There are charities across the country focused on supporting our troops during and after their service. Find a veterans charity near you and use your time off on Veterans Day to volunteer.
If you’re not aware of any veterans charities in your area, the local VA office is a great place to start. Many VA offices and hospitals need volunteers for Veterans Day events and during other parts of the year.
If you don’t have time to volunteer, make a donation instead.
You don’t have to travel to Washington, D.C. to visit a military memorial or museum. There’s probably one or even a few in your hometown.
Cities across the country have monuments or museums honoring the Armed Forces, local military heroes, specific battles or veterans. Even the national museums honoring WWI and WWII are located outside of the nation’s capital.
Veterans Day is the perfect reason to visit a military memorial or museum near you and explore a new part of your city in the process.
Saying thank you is a simple and sincere way to show a veteran that you’re appreciative of their service and sacrifice.
But if you want to do even more to show your gratitude, consider taking a veteran out to lunch or dinner. You may even be able to take advantage of a Veterans Day discount.
During the meal, ask them about their service and share your appreciation.
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